Breast cancer management and outcome according to surgeon's affiliation: a population-based comparison adjusted for patient's selection bias

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Studies have reported that breast cancer (BC) units could increase the quality of care but none has evaluated the efficacy of alternative options such as private BC networks, which is our study objective.

Patients and methods

We included all 1404 BC patients operated in the public unit or the private network and recorded at the Geneva Cancer Registry between 2000 and 2005. We compared quality indicators of care between the public BC unit and the private BC network by logistic regression and evaluated the effect of surgeon's affiliation on BC-specific mortality by the Cox model adjusting for the propensity score.


Both the groups had high care quality scores. For invasive cancer, histological assessment before surgery and axillary lymph node dissection when indicated were less frequent in the public sector (adjusted odds ratio (OR): 0.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3–0.7, and OR: 0.4, 95% CI 0.2–0.8, respectively), while radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery was more frequent (OR: 2.5, 95% CI 1.4–4.8). Surgeon affiliation had no substantial effect on BC-specific mortality (adjusted hazard ratio (HR): 0.8, 95% CI 0.5–1.4).


This study suggests that private BC networks could be an alternative to public BC units with both structures presenting high quality indicators of BC care and similar BC-specific mortality.

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